By Eskinder Ferew VOA, 19-03-2009 — Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi has refused to say how many troops were killed or wounded during the nation’s two-year campaign in Somalia.
During a question-and-answer period in the Ethiopian parliament Thursday, an opposition lawmaker asked Mr. Meles to provide casualty numbers from the Somalia conflict.
The prime minister responded by saying it is “unnecessary” for parliament to have that information, and that he is not obligated to provide it.
One Member of Parliament, former President Negaso Gidada, told VOA that he found the comments arrogant.
Tune into the Amharic service report of the exchange in parliament from Eskinder Firew.
Gidada says that, as representatives of the people, parliament members have a right to know.
Ethiopia sent troops to Somalia in 2006 to help that country’s government battle Islamist insurgents. The troops fought numerous deadly battles with the insurgents before Ethiopia brought them home in January.